UCLA guard Aaron Holiday had 23 points and tied a career-high with five 3-pointers, Thomas Welsh had 21 points and the Bruins overcame an 11-point deficit to draw first blood in the Pac-12 intracity rivalry with an 82-79 victory over the USC Trojans at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday.
Welsh made both ends of a one-and-one with 11.2 seconds remaining, and USC missed two 3-pointers in the final seven seconds as the Bruins (16-7, 7-4 Pac-12) won their third straight after losing the previous three.
Guard Elijah Stewart had 20 points, Shaqquan Aaron had a season-high 14 and Chimezie Metu and Nick Rakocevic had double-doubles for the Trojans (17-7, 8-3), who had a six-game winning streak broken.
Kris Wilkes had 13 points and Jaylen Hands and Gyorgy Goloman had nine for the Bruins, who started a four-guard lineup for the third straight game.
Aaron scored on a baseline drive for a 77-76 lead with 2:08 remaining after Holiday scored 10 points earlier in a 16-6 run as the Bruins recovered from a 69-60 deficit.
Wilkes made one of two free throws to tie it at 77 with 1:37 remaining, and after a USC miss, Welsh hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key for an 80-77 lead.
Elijah Stewart made two free throws to cut it to 80-79 with 34.3 seconds left.
Goloman missed the front end of a one-and-one before Aaron threw up an air ball from the right baseline at the other end.
Welsh was fouled and hit his two free throws, and Jordan McLaughlin and Jordan Usher missed 3-pointers in the final seven seconds for USC.
McLaughlin, the Pac-12 assist leader, had five points and eight assists.
Rakocevic had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Metu had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Momentum shifted when Rakocevic and UCLA reserve Alex Olesinski clashed with 4:50 remaining. Rakocevic missed a shot but was pulled down on the rebound by Olesinski, who was given a flagrant one foul and Rakocevic was given a technical foul for reacting.
Rakocevic missed his two free throw attempts and Holiday made two at the other end to tie the game at 69, and Welsh’s layup on a pass from Holiday on the same possession made it 71-69.
—Field Level Media